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Which company is pharma's rising star?

Published on 17/11/05 at 01:27pm

Pharmaceutical executives are voting in their hundreds every week in a unique survey to find out which companies are the 'Most Admired' - including the one they think is the industry's rising star.

The first ever Pharmafocus & InPharm Career Survey took place last year and built up a unique picture of the UK industry - from revealing the top priorities for a fulfilling job, to views on the future of the industry and its relationship with the NHS.

Respondents also took part in a poll to find the Most Admired pharmaceutical company - and put Pfizer UK at number one, with over 16% of voters supporting the company.

The company just edged ahead of GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca in second and third place, with Novartis and Lilly not far behind.

So has anything changed one year on? Are Pfizer still dominant or has one of its closest rivals succeeded in overhauling it in the eyes of the UK industry? Or has one of the industry's rising stars managed to eclipse them all? You can add your vote now by visiting:

This year the Most Admired section of the survey has been extended to recognise the companies with the best R&D pipeline, UK Sales & Marketing Team and the Industry's Rising Star.

Pharma's rising stars

Here's a quick guide to just a few of the companies who could be in the running for the 'Rising Star' accolade.


Abbott is currently one of the industry's fastest growing companies with a new blockbuster brand leading the way and a highly promising pipeline.

Global sales in 2004 climbed to $19.7 billion, up 14 % over 2003, and 78% over the last five years.

The company's sales growth of 16% for the first nine months of 2005 was far ahead of the industry average.

In the UK, Abbott is ranked 14th in terms of overall sales. Leading brands marketed by Abbott in the UK are HIV treatment Kaletra and antibiotic Klaracid XL- but rheumatoid arthritis treatment Humira is the company's biggest product by far.

The company's rapid growth has been helped by a rationalisation of its business structure, its management team bringing together pieces of the pharma business that used to be spread across different organisations.  

Abbott is now focused on five specialty markets: Infectious diseases, Neurology, Urology/Cardiology, Paediatric and speciality pharmaceuticals.

The company's pipeline is also strongly tipped, with promising candidates across its key therapy areas.

Xinlay a new prostate cancer treatment is currently awaiting an FDA decision, while Simdax a new heart failure drug, gout treatment febuxostat and Takeda co-developed ulcer treatment TAK-390MR ulcer treatment are all in phase III.

Boehringer Ingelheim

Boehringer Ingelheim UK is a fast-growing company that has been consistently recognised as one of the country's best places to work.

For the last four years it has been ranked in The Sunday Times 100 Best UK Companies to Work For list, coming 19th in 2005.

The company is poised to break into the top ten companies in terms of UK sales on the back of sustained growth over a number of years - figures from 2004 putting it in 11th place.

One of the company's fastest growing products is its respiratory treatment Spiriva co-marketed with Pfizer.

Painkiller Mobic and hypertension treatment Micardis Plus are two top sellers in a portfolio spanning a large number of therapy areas.

Its most important recent launches were those for duloxetine, the single molecule marketed for two separate indications - as Cymbalta/Xeristar for depression and Yentreve/Ariclaim for stress urinary incontinence, both co-marketed with Eli Lilly.

Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly is a pharma industry middleweight and is currently heavily dependent on one product - schizophrenia drug Zyprexa - for a large proportion of its global sales, around 34% in 2004.

But the company has a brace of recently launched brands - including depression treatment Cymbalta - and cancer drug Alimta which should help it continue to grow rapidly.

Analysts say the company has one of the best pipelines in the industry, with a number of key products in phase II and phase III development.

One innovative new brand, diabetes treatment Byetta, was launched earlier this year in the US, and is likely to hit European markets in 2006.

Other highly promising products include ruboxistaurin, a novel treatment for neuropathic pain and prasugrel, a rival for Sanofi-Aventis's Plavix (clopidogrel) which Lilly says has shown superior efficacy.

In the UK, the company is well-established in both sales and marketing and R&D.

The company opened a new £26 million UK research facility earlier this year, underlining its commitment to developing medicines in the UK.

The new laboratories are housed at the company's Surrey R&D site and will concentrate on developing medicines in four disease areas: Parkinson's, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and pain syndrome.


Just a few years ago, Roche was considered something of a lame duck in the industry. In 2001, the company had just one new product tipped for blockbuster status - obesity drug Xenical - and had slipped down the global industry rankings from number four in 1994 to eleventh in 2000.

But the company is once again on the up, and the most decisive factor in the remarkable turnaround is its majority stake in Californian biotech company Genentech.

From MabThera/Rituxan and Herceptin to Avastin and the latest breakthrough treatment, lung cancer treatment Tarceva, Roche's sales have been massively boosted by its 84% stake in Genentech, which Roche chairman Franz Humer now considers a subsidiary of the Swiss company.

Analysts say the company's performance could help its share price grow 10% in the next year after an increase of more than 50% in the last two years.

The company hopes to achieve this with 25 new filings over the next five years, made up of new indications for existing drugs and new product launches in cancer, type II diabetes, depression, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

In 2004 Roche was eighth in terms of overall UK sales, but is certain to rise up the rankings in 2005 and beyond.

These companies are just some of those short-listed for the 'Rising Star' award in the Pharmafocus & InPharm survey.

Visit www.pharmafocus/careersurvey now to take part and add your vote. Respondents can select a company from the shortlist or nominate any other pharma or biotech company with a UK presence.

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